Filipino cooking  

Posted by Rachel

I made time to do some ethnic cooking this weekend, and was NOT disappointed. My lovely roommate, Kimberly, got me a pressure cooker for my birthday in March. I have used it to make some delicious parmesan risotto a few weeks back, and decided to bust it out again Sunday afternoon to cook lunch for Nick, Bekah, Nick and I. I chose to cook up some Chicken Adobo, a Filipino dish that is also popular in Spain, Latin America and other Asian Pacific places. Accompanied by simple jasmine rice and broccoli, this dish was delish! We all cleaned our plates.

Here's the recipe:

8 or 9 chicken thighs (I used skinless bone-in thighs, simply because I couldn’t find any without the bone, but we de-boned them before cooking. I would HIGHLY recommend boneless thighs if you can find them, but I wouldn’t substitute chicken breasts because the dark meat of the thighs works with the dish much better)
2 cups water
2 cups low sodium soy sauce (WOW, you MUST use the low sodium or you might experience salt overload)
1 large onion (cut into rings)
8 garlic cloves (chopped up)
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons cooking sherry
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon olive oil

In pressure cooker, combine water, soy sauce, onion, garlic, bay leaves, sherry wine, black pepper and molasses. Place cooker over medium high heat with lid off so the liquid can start to heat up.

In a separate pan, heat olive oil over medium to medium high heat. Brown the chicken thighs on both sides. Once browned, add directly to the liquid in the pressure cooker. Stir a bit to get the chicken thighs down into the liquid.

Place lid on pressure cooker and bring heat up to high. Once the pressure cooker valve starts whistling and rocking around, drop the heat to medium high and set the timer for 25 minutes.

Use this time to cook some jasmine rice. Make as much as you like and simply follow the directions on the bag. When the rice is done, remove it from the burner so the bottom doesn't burn and get hard.

Once the 25 minutes are up, remove the pressure cooker from the heat and run cold water over it to release the pressure and open the cooker. Remove the bay leaves. Serve chicken and sauce over jasmine rice.



Mother's Day, a little late  

Posted by Rachel in , , , , , ,

Mother's Day was a little bit ago, I know. BUT, I am consistent in being an inconsistent blogger. That's just how it is, I suppose.

Anyways, I decided to cook my mom lunch for mother's day, and must say that the recipes turned out to be a GREAT mix together.

I tried a new chicken dish, which I also did for a wedding shower I helped host Saturday night of this past weekend, though it was slightly adjusted for the wedding shower. Basically, I took this recipe and adjusted it a bit. Instead of goat cheese, I used cream cheese - partially because I couldn't find the goat cheese at the grocery store where I was and I refused to go to another, but also because in planning to use the recipe again to feed 25+ people at a shower, I thought a trial run with the *cheaper* cream cheese wouldn't be a bad idea. Also, for the shower, I used basil pesto because I didn't have the sun dried tomato pesto on Saturday. And it turned out fine, though the red color of the sun dried tomato looked a little better than the bright green basil pesto in the chicken. =)

So next, I made these sweet potatoes. YUM with the maple syrup. Perfect addition to the chicken. I found that they didn't need a whole lot of half/half or milk, but did add a VERY small amount of milk at the end.

To add some green to the plate - didn't your mom teach you that? - I made this asparagus recipe, and wow, it was one of my favorite ways I've eaten asparagus. I'd be interested to see what it would taste like steamed first, then skillet-ed in a LOT LESS oil/butter to be a little healthier. But it was definitely tasty just following the recipe.

For dessert (the most important part, of course), I made a flourless chocolate cake, which happened to be from my Healthy Cooking magazine. So it's healthy(er) and that makes me happy.

So, if you were trying to think of a plan for a slightly "nicer" dinner, this is a good one, and it isn't too very difficult. Including making a dessert and cooking time for everything, it was about 2 hours from the time that I started to when we were sitting down on to eat. And for the record - I think mom liked it. =)

Here's the recipe for the chicken typed out, since I adapted that recipe just a little:
Baked Chicken Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto, Basil, and CREAM Cheese
(6 servings)

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 cup 100% whole wheat pastry flour
3 eggs, beaten well
2/3 cup 100% whole wheat bread crumbs
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
6 oz. cream cheese (I used the 1/3 less fat kind)
6 oz. Sun-dried tomato pesto
1/2 cup fresh basil, finely chopped (I didn't worry about chopping this extremely fine, and didn't really measure it - I just bought one package and used all of it)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Trim all visible fat and tendons from chicken breasts. Put chicken breasts, one at a time, inside a heavy plastic plastic freezer bag and pound with meat mallet or other heavy object until 1/4 inch thick.

Put pesto, cream cheese, and chopped basil in food processor and buzz a few times until mixture is combined but not completely blended. Spread 1/6 of pesto/basil/cheese mixture on each chicken breast. Roll up chicken, starting with smallest end, tucking in loose pieces and securing with two toothpicks. (Note: this part was pretty messy for me, as the mixture kept oozing out the sides. I adjusted how I was doing it as I went along, putting a little less on the chicken, or trying to keep it in the middle of the meat, but it was still messy enough.)

Put flour, beaten egg, and bread crumbs combined with parmesan cheese into three separate flat dishes. Roll each chicken breast, first in flour, then in egg, then in bread crumb/parmesan mixture. (Another note: this doesn't "roll" quite as easy as it sounds necessarily, but the crunchy addition of the chicken baked with the parm/bread mixture is worth it. Sometimes I put fresh whole wheat bread in my food processor and make my own fine bread crumbs and that works great.)

Spray glass casserole dish with nonstick spray and arrange chicken so pieces are not touching. Bake at 350 F for about 50-60 minutes, or until chicken is slightly browned and firm, but not hard to the touch. I recommend you start checking it after 40 minutes, and remove from oven as soon as the chicken feels firm and is slightly browned.



Red beans and rice... caribbean style  

Posted by Rachel in

I was really craving red beans and rice the other day... odd.

So I decided to make a bunch to have for lunches this week (I am cheap and rarely eat lunches out). I found a recipe for Caribbean red beans and brown rice on the Mayo Clinic's recipe list. I actually find their recipes to be pretty good, and they are always healthier, which I love, so I was excited they had just what I was looking for.

This is the real deal recipe, using dried beans soaked overnight, not the canned stuff. Sometimes I cheat on that step, but not this time around, and I like the outcome! They did suggest using various varieties of brown rice for a more "dirty rice" feel, but I didn't do follow that little instruction.

My only hesitation on the recipe is the addition of the allspice and cloves. They are a little overpowering in flavor, so in the future, I would not include as much of them - possibly cutting the measurements from a 1/2 tsp to an 1/8 tsp of each.

Other than that - super tasty - if you like red beans and rice. Enjoy!

Caribbean Red Beans and Brown Rice (Mayo clinic)


    1 1/2 cups dried small red or kidney beans, picked over and rinsed, soaked overnight, and drained
    6 1/2 cups water
    3 bay leaves
    1 1/4 cups assorted brown rices, rinsed and drained
    3 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil
    1 1/4 teaspoons salt
    1 yellow onion, chopped
    1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
    1 celery stalk, chopped
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
    1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 cup vegetable stock or broth
    1 tomato, cored and diced
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
    1 teaspoon hot-pepper sauce
    3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (fresh coriander)


In a large saucepan over high heat, combine the beans, 4 cups of the water and the bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially and simmer until the beans are tender, 60 to 70 minutes. Drain and discard the bay leaves.

While the beans are cooking, combine the rices, 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and the remaining 2 1/2 cups water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 45 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.

In a large saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery; saute until the vegetables are softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Add the allspice, cloves, cayenne, the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and the black pepper. Cook for 1 minute. Stir in the cooked beans, the vegetable stock, tomato, thyme and hot-pepper sauce. Cook until the vegetable mixture is heated through, 6 to 8 minutes. Divide the rice among warmed individual bowls. Top each serving with beans and sprinkle with the cilantro.